CLASIA: "I'm trying to be a better teammate"
For Dust2.us' first interview at Fragadelphia 16: Chicago, Jeffrey "Mnmzzz" Moore had a chance to sit down with Anthony "CLASIA" Kearney from ChocoCheck. They discussed CLASIA's removal from RBG, joining ChocoCheck, and how he is trying to become a better teammate.
He also provided some insight into why ChocoCheck don't care about their reputation and their decision to forfeit the ESEA Premier Season 39 finals.
To start, your last LAN event, Fragadelphia 15, was with RBG three weeks after being cut from the team. From the outside looking in, it seemed to be an acrimonious split. What happened there?
My removal had been discussed before then, but I got better team-wise. The issue was never about my skill it was about my attitude and how nice of a teammate I was. They talked about that once and I got a little better and it fixed it. I forget when but we played Triumph in a Cash Cup finals and I played really bad and when I play bad I get really toxic. That's when I felt [my removal] coming because normally they would talk to me in the group chat but for a week after the match they didn't. I kind of expected it and wasn't surprised when it happened because it was kind of deserved now that I'm thinking about it but back then it [didn't feel like that] for me.
Do you regret at all how things ended with RBG? Would you have wanted to stay with that team if things went differently?
Yeah, I wish I could have stayed. I feel more comfortable playing with them than ChocoCheck because it's an actual team and I have a set role.
Let's discuss that move a bit. After leaving RBG did you struggle to find a new team and if so, is that what led you to joining ChocoCheck?
I had a couple offers but they were lower-tier teams and I didn't really want to play with them because I felt like I still wanted to compete and have fun while doing it. I remember messaging someone on Bad News Bears and I didn't get a reply back and then I was playing FPL and nosraC asked me to join. I thought it was a joke but he was serious so I joined the team.
At the time was there any aversion to joining ChocoCheck because of their reputation in the community?
I knew I couldn't get a spot on a better team for a while because of what happened with [RBG] and it was still recent so everyone knew I hadn't changed yet. That's when I decided to say yes because I felt like my reputation couldn't get any worse. I thought I would have fun while still playing and be good without having to commit time to the game.
As someone who has been with ChocoCheck for three months now, do you think the community's dislike for the team is justified?
To an extent. The ones where it's like "they don't care, they're trolling, they're not playing seriously, they shouldn't even be in some of these events" its technically true because we don't practice. But, we're placing higher than actual teams that practice when we try so it's like what's the point for us to not be in these events if we beat the teams that are considered really good.
I feel like some of the dislike and controversy about ChocoCheck boils down to how mysterious the team is because of the lack of a public persona for multiple players, namely XotiC. If we're able to peer behind the curtain a bit, what are some of these guys like as teammates and as individuals?
I haven't really played with tropiiical outside of one match so I haven't talked to him that much but he seems kind of like XotiC which means he's really fun to play with and he's good to play with. XotiC doesn't rage, he doesn't complain, and he just plays the game and does it well. He listens and he's overall funny in and out of the game. nosraC is kind of the same. If you watch the FPL streams he's still kind of toxic and he says the same things in a match. If you're fully trying it hinders thing but usually we're not trying so it doesn't matter at all. We all understand it's fine.
As a player, how do you rate XotiC? What does he bring to ChocoCheck's lineup?
We're obviously easily better with him because there's not really a lot of good AWPers in NA. I feel like when XotiC is popping off he's better than most AWPers. When he's popping off he's also a really good rifler so he can use anything.
Has XotiC ever explained why he's so apprehensive about using Twitter?
He likes to play the game for fun but he doesn't really care anymore because of being called a LAN dodger, cheater, all that stuff. His passion is lost but he still likes to play to have fun. He just doesn't want to take it seriously even while playing at a high level.
You mentioned his history as a LAN dodger; do you think we will ever see the full ChocoCheck lineup on LAN?
We've talked about it as a joke. nosraC joked about XotiC going to the Denver LAN and he said we should go to that but it was too soon. But I feel like he would've gone because he lives close by. We were supposed to be in [ESL Pro League Conference Season 16] since Extra Salt got signed, and when we talked about it before [ESEA's decision] everyone said they'd go.
Has the team ever sat down and discussed trying to confront the team's bad reputation and try to become a legit lineup?
Not all of us together but like personally I want to have a good reputation. But I feel like no matter how much work I do I can't change it because I don't have a chance to get on a team. They won't take people from ChocoCheck seriously. With the exception of jeorgesnorts the rest of the team says "we're all older and we don't really care enough" and the ones that do say they want to keep the same persona they have now. I think the only [ChocoCheck player] that has a really good reputation is JazzPimp because there's nothing really wrong with him he's just inconsistent when it comes to aiming.
Discussing reputations, can you give your perspective on what happened with the forfeit to Extra Salt in the Season 39 finals?
I woke up at 12pm or 1pm and then I realized my internet was out. I called my Dad and he said it had been out for the entire day and it should come back on three hours before our match. It didn't come on so we went to the store and we got an ethernet cable for my modem. While all that was happening I was messaging the team about how I couldn't play. nosraC couldn't play because his vacation was scheduled three or six months before the league schedule was released so how could he know? XotiC had an emergency because someone in his family got COVID. He wanted to see them I'm pretty sure. I put family stuff ahead of videogames even if it's still important so I get it.
Do you think things could've been handled better?
Yeah but we couldn't really reschedule because it was such short notice. But we did message ESL asking if we would still get the prize money and the Conference spot even if we couldn't play and the answer was yes initially but the recent ruling changed that. I feel like it's unfair because we only have so many people on a roster and some of them aren't playing the game or have computers anymore. Plus JazzPimp said he had two college finals due that day so he didn't fail. They're prioritizing other stuff than the game itself.
What are your goals for the future and do you think you deserve a second shot with teams looking for a new player?
I want to become a better player and earn a salary with teams and go pro. But like I said earlier no matter what I do it won't change because people won't give me a chance because my reputation is so bad.
Is there a pitch you want to make to NA about why you're worth a shot again?
Even though I was toxic in the past I've changed to an extent. I'm not doing as much stuff as before and I'm trying to be a better teammate even when I'm annoyed. I'm skilled and no matter the team I try to be the second leader and I try to motivate when I play and I try to make us feel good. I feel like teams need two guys that can do that.
CLASIA and ChocoCheck are currently competing in ESL Challenger League Season 40. Their next match will be against Strife on February 8th.